Compatibility for external sites

How to enable IE Mode for external websites on Microsoft Edge

Need to load old external sites with Microsoft Edge? Here are the steps on how to do this with Group Policy.

Microsoft Edge IE Mode for external sites

Microsoft Edge Chromium comes with “IE Mode” that allows to use the legacy Internet Explorer engine to load old websites that otherwize will break in the new modern browser.

Although IE Mode has been designed primarily for organizations to load internal sites without the need to use a separate browser or having to redesign the site, it’s also possible to use the feature to load external websites. However, it involves additional steps, and you must specify a list with the sites that you want to render with IE Mode on Edge using Group Policy.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to enable IE Mode to load legacy external websites using the Internet Explorer rendering engine on Chromium Edge for Windows 10.

How to create Enterprise Mode Site List for IE Mode on Microsoft Edge

To load external websites with with IE Mode on Edge (Chromium), you need to enable the feature and create a list of sites using these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for gpedit and click the top result to open the Group Policy Editor.

  3. Browse the following path:

    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Microsoft Edge
    Quick tip: If the “Microsoft Edge” folder isn’t available, then you don’t have the required Group Policy templates. In this case, use these instructions, and then return to these steps.
  4. Double-click the Configure Internet Explorer integration policy.

    Microsoft Edge Group Policy settings
    Microsoft Edge Group Policy settings
  5. Select the Enabled option to enable IE Mode for Microsoft Edge.

  6. Under the “Options” section, select the Internet Explorer mode from the dropdown menu.

    Enable IE Mode on Chromium Edge
    Enable IE Mode on Chromium Edge
  7. Click the Apply button.

  8. Click the OK button.

  9. Double-click the Configure the Enterprise Mode Site List policy.

    Microsoft Edge Group Policy IE Mode
    Microsoft Edge Group Policy IE Mode
  10. Select the Enabled option.

    Configure the Enterprise Mode Site List policy
    Configure the Enterprise Mode Site List policy
  11. Under the Options section, specify the path for the xml file containing a list of websites you want to render with the Internet Explorer engine. The file can be hosted on the network, site location, or stored locally on your device:

    • HTTPS location: https://localhost:8080/sites.xml
    • Local network file: \\network\shares\sites.xml
    • Local file: file:///c:/Users/USER-FOLDER-NAME/Documents/sites.xml
    Quick tip: If you don’t already have an “sites.xml” file with a list of website that you want to use with IE Mode on Microsoft Edge, then refer to the Creating Enterprise Site XML list steps below.
  12. Click the Apply button.
  13. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, websites will render in compatibility mode, and you’ll notice a familiar IE icon on the left side of the address bar letting you know the website is using Internet Explorer.

Creating Enterprise Site XML list

To create an XML file with the list of sites that you want to load with Microsoft Edge IE Mode, use these steps:

  1. Open Notepad.

  2. Copy and paste the following code structure example in the text file:

    <site-list version="205">
        <!--- File creation header --->
        <created-by>
            <tool>EnterpriseSitelistManager</tool>
            <version>10240</version>
            <date-created>20150728.135021</date-created>
        </created-by>
        <!--- Begin Site List ---> 
        <site url="website-domain1.com">
            <compat-mode>default</compat-mode>
            <open-in>IE11</open-in>
        </site>
        <site url="website-domain2.com"> 
           <compat-mode>default</compat-mode> 
           <open-in>IE11</open-in> 
        </site>
    </site-list>
        
    
    Microsoft Edge IE Mode sites xml sample
    Microsoft Edge IE Mode sites xml sample
    Important: When copying and pasting the Enterprise Mode v.2 XML schema example file, make sure your file looks exactly the same. Also, remember to check website-domain1 and website-domain2 for the websites you want to load with IE Mode. For more information creating a list of websites for IE Mode check this Microsoft support website.
  3. (Optional) If you need to add more than two websites to list, then add another bracket for every site.

        <site url="website-domain2.com"> 
           <compat-mode>default</compat-mode> 
           <open-in>IE11</open-in> 
        </site>
    

    Sites xml for Microsoft Edge IE Mode with multiple websites
    Sites xml for Microsoft Edge IE Mode with multiple websites
  4. Click the File menu.

  5. Click the Save As option.

  6. Use the sites.xml name for the file.

  7. Click the Save button.

After you complete the steps, you can use the file to load websites on IE Mode on Microsoft Edge using the Configure the Enterprise Mode Site List policy with the above instructions.